Author: Jean Baptiste Racine

Scene V Theseus, Hippolytus, Theramenes

THESEUS Strange welcome for your father, this! What does it mean, my son?

HIPPOLYTUS Phaedra alone Can solve this mystery. But if my wish Can move you, let me never see her more; Suffer Hippolytus to disappear For ever from the home that holds your wife.

THESEUS You, my son! Leave me?

HIPPOLYTUS ’Twas not I who sought her: ’Twas you who led her footsteps to these shores. At your departure you thought meet, my lord, To trust Aricia and the Queen to this Troezenian land, and I myself was charged With their protection. But what cares henceforth Need keep me here? My youth of idleness Has shown its skill enough o’er paltry foes That range the woods. May I not quit a life Of such inglorious ease, and dip my spear In nobler blood? Ere you had reach’d my age More than one tyrant, monster more than one Had felt the weight of your stout arm. Already, Successful in attacking insolence, You had removed all dangers that infested Our coasts to east and west. The traveller fear’d Outrage no longer. Hearing of your deeds, Already Hercules relied on you, And rested from his toils. While I, unknown Son of so brave a sire, am far behind Even my mother’s footsteps. Let my courage Have scope to act, and if some monster yet Has ’scaped you, let me lay the glorious spoils Down at your feet; or let the memory Of death faced nobly keep my name alive, And prove to all the world I was your son.

THESEUS Why, what is this? What terror has possess’d My family to make them fly before me? If I return to find myself so fear’d, So little welcome, why did Heav’n release me From prison? My sole friend, misled by passion, Was bent on robbing of his wife the tyrant Who ruled Epirus. With regret I lent The lover aid, but Fate had made us blind, Myself as well as him. The tyrant seized me Defenceless and unarm’d. Pirithous I saw with tears cast forth to be devour’d By savage beasts that lapp’d the blood of men. Myself in gloomy caverns he inclosed, Deep in the bowels of the earth, and nigh To Pluto’s realms. Six months I lay ere Heav’n Had pity, and I ’scaped the watchful eyes That guarded me. Then did I purge the world Of a foul foe, and he himself has fed His monsters. But when with expectant joy To all that is most precious I draw near Of what the gods have left me, when my soul Looks for full satisfaction in a sight So dear, my only welcome is a shudder, Embrace rejected, and a hasty flight. Inspiring, as I clearly do, such terror, Would I were still a prisoner in Epirus! Phaedra complains that I have suffer’d outrage. Who has betray’d me? Speak. Why was I not Avenged? Has Greece, to whom mine arm so oft Brought useful aid, shelter’d the criminal? You make no answer. Is my son, mine own Dear son, confederate with mine enemies? I’ll enter. This suspense is overwhelming. I’ll learn at once the culprit and the crime, And Phaedra must explain her troubled state.


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Chicago: Jean Baptiste Racine, "Scene V Theseus, Hippolytus, Theramenes," Phaedra, ed. CM01B10.Txt - 149 Kb, CM01B10.Zip - 56 Kb and trans. Robert Boswell in Phaedra (New York: The Modern Library Publishers, 1918), Original Sources, accessed March 22, 2019,

MLA: Racine, Jean Baptiste. "Scene V Theseus, Hippolytus, Theramenes." Phaedra, edited by CM01B10.Txt - 149 Kb, CM01B10.Zip - 56 Kb, and translated by Robert Boswell, in Phaedra, New York, The Modern Library Publishers, 1918, Original Sources. 22 Mar. 2019.

Harvard: Racine, JB, 'Scene V Theseus, Hippolytus, Theramenes' in Phaedra, ed. and trans. . cited in 1918, Phaedra, The Modern Library Publishers, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 22 March 2019, from